Can't Spell? You'd Make A Great Reporter

virginia heffernan

Virginia Heffernan takes to The New York Times‘ Opinionator blog with an essay about typos, namely the reasons for the increased amount of them appearing in print publications.

The general consensus isn’t that surprising. Basically, editors are doing things faster (always faster), reading fewer drafts, and missing small errors. Copy editors are fewer and further between. Writers, armed with word processors, are turning out longer drafts with less care. The Internet is to blame as well. Good reasons, but not exactly groundbreaking.

But Heffernan does make an interesting point about good spellers versus bad spellers:

A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled tends to see through the words he encounters – straight to the things, characters, ideas, images and emotions they conjure. A good speller, by contrast – the kind who never fails to clock the idiosyncratic orthography of “algorithm” or “Albert Pujols” – tends to see language as a system. Good spellers are often drawn to poetry and wordplay, while bad spellers, for whom language is a conduit and not an end in itself, can excel at representation and reportage.

So, go ahead. Send a typo-filled letter to the NYT‘s editorial deparment asking for a job.

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